Monday, August 29, 2016

Super Dragon Ball Z Review - Super Dragon Fighter Z II Turbo!!

    June 29, 2006 (Japan)
    July 18, 2006 (North America)
    July 28, 2006 (Europe)
Platform(s): Arcade, PlayStation 2
Genre(s): Fighting
Developer(s): Arika, Crafts & Meister

    Banpresto (Japan)
    Atari (North America)
    Namco Bandai (Europe)
Player(s): 1-2


Early to mid-2000's was a good time for DBZ games. Dragon Ball Z: Budokai 3 (simply known as Dragon Ball Z 3 in Japan) in late 2004 was particularly impressive not only for being a night-and-day sequel to the first two Budokai games but it's viscerally fast-paced and authentic combat can be enjoyed even by people are otherwise disinterested in Dragon Ball Z. Dragon Ball Z: Budokai Tenkaichi (also known as Dragon Ball Z: Sparking! in Japan), while not as impressive as Budokai 3, still retained the visceral, fast-combat feeling of combat and was like no other fighting game before it. However, there is one that released between the first Tenkaichi game and the then upcoming sequel Dragon Ball Z: Budokai Tenkaichi 2 (Dragon Ball Z: Sparking! Neo) that hardly any fan seems to remembers, and that game is the one that's center for subject right now: Super Dragon Ball Z.

Super Dragon Ball Z was touted as the franchise's first "serious" fighting game... in fact, it was an Arcade game before being ported over to the PS2 and it was directed by Akira Nishitani... the man who, along with Akira Yasuda, created the quintessential fighting game Street Fighter II so there's a bit of pedigree to this game. While it was a modest success in Japan (enough for it to be ported), the game (released only for PS2) never caught on in North America. Is there a reason for this failure or is it yet another overlooked gem?


Super Dragon Ball Z is a fighter that combines elements from 2D and 3D fighting games for combat system. Unlike the last few DBZ games that proceeded it, Super DBZ brings it's combat closer to it's fighting game roots so fans of older DBZ fighters and other fighters in general may find it more respectable than say... the Budokai games and Budokai Tenkaichi. The basic controls are rather easy to understand and accessible... you have one button for light attacks, one for heavy attacks, one for jumping/bukujutsu, and one for guarding... all of which can be combined to do various attacks as throwing, dash attacks, and ki blasts. Super DBZ also has combos in the form of a dial-up system similar to the what you'd find in Mortal Kombat or Killer Instinct- albeit a very simplified one. Each character has their own set combos by doing consecutive light and/or heavy attacks but they're pretty limited and like the Budokai games, there's only one blocking zone so not a lot of strategy between attacking high or low is involved. You can also use the environments to your advantage as you slam opponents into walls, hide behind rock formations or buildings, or send your opponent through stage transitions though it isn't close to the level of environmental interaction you can do in Budokai Tenkaichi as battles are more up close and personal. Like the Budokai games and Budokai Tenkaichi, each character has a set of super and ultimate moves at their disposal but unlike said games where executing them are simply done with 2-4 button combinations, the super and ultimate moves require more complex inputs like the quarter-circles or half-circles which people play other fighting games like Street Fighter would be familiar... however so players who are used to the simplified controls for these moves in previous DBZ games and/or are total newbies at fighting games are definitely gonna be thrown off by and frustrated with the intricate button commands. 

Super and ultimate moves have widely varying attributes and uses during battle which is a nice touch, but you only have a handful of them are immediately available to you. You can learn more but there's a limit to that as well and a lot of the upgrades are shared between characters. The way super and ultimate moves also function basically the same how special and super moves function in Street Fighter or Mortal Kombat... super moves require no gauge to be used even for ki-based ones and can be chained off from normal attacks while ultimate moves 1 require or more bars from the Ultimate Gauge. 

As you can tell Super DBZ takes a lot of cues from other popular fighting game series (Goku even has a super move similar to Ryu's Shoryuken called Blast Fist) but when you compare it to the very fighters it take influence from this game doesn't offer that many options in what you can do in combat. Super DBZ does sport a healthy amount of strategy and diversity but with other 2.5D fighters like Tekken or Virtua Fighter which have tons of technical depth, Super DBZ just can't measure up. 

Not only is the game shallow in comparison to the popular fighters it tries to emulate, it's also too slow and traditional to satisfy DBZ fans. Sure you can do dash attacks by pressing one of the attack buttons in junction with the guard button and you can use bukujutsu by pressing the jump button while in the air to speed things up, though they are limited to an Action Gauge (which admittedly does add strategy to combat), but innovative mechanics that previous DBZ fighters had offered to the table in order to emulate the action from the series such as teleporting, pursuing, beam struggles, and ki building are sadly absent. 


There are a fair amount (though not ideal) of game modes in Super Dragon Ball Z to play in which are Original, Versus, Z-Survivor, and Training. 

Original plays like the arcade version of the game where you select a character then fight up to 7 of the characters that were available in the arcade version which leads up to the fight with Cell and you earn a dragonball as a custom character after winning each fight meaning you can get all of them in one go. Just like the arcade version another player can come to challenge you (without the cost of a quarter) in order to take over and no... there is no story to follow so bummer. 

Versus is well... the standard versus mode where you play against another player... you both set your handicaps, select a stage, and then fight.

Z-Survivor has you play as a custom character and fight with only one Health and Ultimate Gauges against up to 9 of the characters available in the arcade version without losing, and unlike most survival modes where you're healed instantly after each fight you play a Bonus Roulette mini-game where you can either recover health, fuel Ultimate Gauge, increase attack/defense power, earn B.P/EXP bonus, or earn a dragon ball. At first, the roulette is rather slow but as you go along, while the earnings get better the roulette spins faster and enemies become harder especially ones with over a million B.P. If you're lucky you might gain the option to fight one of the PS2-exclusive characters at the end for a massive BP and EXP bonus increase at the risk of losing all your earnings from your recent playthrough of Z-Survivor if you are defeated so choose wisely!

Training is yet another surprisingly deep Training mode where you can use your opponent as a training dummy to act as a punching bag or have them perform various actions (like guarding constantly, guard after being attacked, attacking after guarding, performing a quick recovery after falling to the ground, etc.). There is also an option for a damage ratio and command display to help maximize damage or practice more elaborate moves, and you can set obstacles with varying sizes, numbers, and endurance all to your liking. You can even make another player join in as a sparring partner (though they lack the display options) but for some reason you can't have the computer act as a fighting opponent. There's also a lack of a tutorial section which would have been especially helpful as the bulk of this game's playerbase certainly wouldn't have the skills or patience to learn the more complex moves. All in all, Training is good for what it is but it isn't nearly as extensive as the training modes in other popular fighters such as Tekken and Dead or Alive.

The one mode that is really noteworthy is Customize. In this mode, you create up to 30 custom character cards with a custom name for you to level up and learn new skills. Unlike the customization system in the Budokai games where skills are either bought or found in various parts of certain modes, skills are earned through EXP points and how do you earn said EXP points? Simple you earn them after each fight and once your gain at least one experience bar you can learn a new skill. B.P points work the same way but they're only there for the high scores chart so they do nothing skill-wise... though one thing interesting about it is they will make your scouter explode if you gain over a million B.P points. Anyways, the EXP points you accumulate can be redeemed within the Customize mode through something called a Skill Tree where the next skill you can learn will be determine which skill you choose and there are various types of skills to learn such as new super or ultimate moves (like mentioned before), faster recovery on the Action Gauge, greater movement speed, slight increase in attack or defense power, armor properties on dash attacks, super cancel (the ability to chain super or ultimate moves into another ultimate move), and if you complete a character's Skill Tree you can inherit another character's signature move (they would have to be skill inheritance compatible as well). This is a great system that gives the game a lot of replay value and is honestly the best part about the game's combat but for single-player this means you have to constantly grind through the Original and Z-Survival modes (preferably the latter). Dragon Summoning allows you to wish for additional skills after collecting the dragonballs with selected character some that are not even available on the Skill Tree at all but not only that you can wish for a few accessory such as a new color scheme, a new costume, a Win:Loss ratio, and a new scouter. Unlockables are even achieved through wishes such as hidden characters, extra stages, or certain characters serving as the announcer.

One thing that should be addressed is the roster. It's seriously small in comparison to the rosters in Budokai 3 and especially Budokai Tenkaichi as there's only 18 characters in total (5 of them you have to unlock). Not only that but popular characters such as Yamcha, Tien, the Ginyu Force, and Broly are all left out... but it's not a total bomb as there are a few pleasant surprises to the roster such as Chi-Chi, King Piccolo, and a newly designed Mecha Frieza.


Like Budokai 3 and Budokai Tenkaichi, Super Dragon Ball Z uses a cel-shaded graphics style but unlike most DBZ games which tend to resemble the anime this game takes it's visual cues from the manga (though it's not as extreme as the Naruto: Ultimate Ninja game series)... which is why several color schemes are different from most would be familiar with (Goku's gi being regular orange and blue, Piccolo's skin patches being yellow instead of pink, Perfect Cell's exoskeleton being dark green instead of neon green, etc.) and hit,explosion, and ground effects are represented through onomatopoeia. That being said the character models and stages do look nice. They're colorful, vibrant, and are animated reasonably well (though not as well animated as the Budokai games) but the auras, ki blasts, and particle effects are nothing special. They look too much like they were done on a computer... nothing like what you'd expect out of the series.


Once again the voice actors/actresses from the FUNimation Dub have come to reprise their roles but for some reason the audio quality on the voices sound really muffled as if they were recorded with a low-end mic and the voice acting itself sounds considerably less enthusiastic than usual as if they didn't wanna work on the game (not that I blame them entirely). Also, there's no option for the Japanese voices like in Budokai Tenkaichi and the Greatest Hits version of Budokai 3 so North American fans who prefer the Japanese version will have to endure the subpar voice work of the English version. As for the music, Super DBZ goes for a completely different approach from most DBZ games which tend for a modern music mix. The soundtrack is like a tribute to 90's synthesized music for old arcade games and they mostly do a good job at keeping you invested in the action... several of the tracks are actually quite catchy. The sound effects is also something completely new as it mimics the onomatopoeia and it helps give the combat a comic book feel. 


One thing that made the DBZ fighting games so endearing over the years is how much the combat resembled the over-the-top action of the series and that reigns true with Super Dragon Ball Z... to an extent. A lot of familiar moves from the series are here for the coarse but they aren't presented in a particularly impressive way. The camera is almost always fixed to an angle (that being the side of the characters) and there's no cinematics accompanying any of the attacks. For example, Goku's Spirit Bomb is an extremely powerful and hard-to-avoid attack in the game but on a spectacle level you don't really get the sense of it being a super devastating attack like in the series. 

Like I said earlier, the game goes for a more manga-inspired feel and that easily can seen right from the main menu. Each mode in the main menu is sectioned off like panels from a page in the manga and the loading screen are like a Tankōbon cover for a volume of the manga featuring your next opponent. There are even some cameos and references to Akira Toriyama's other works like Suppaman, a character from Dr. Slump who's an obvious parody of Superman, randomly appearing after destroying one of the buildings in Eastern Capital. 


Is Super Dragon Ball Z a bad game deserving of it's relative obscurity? No... not at all but I feel the game suffers a bit of an identity crisis. It either tries to appeal to fans of Toriyama's megahit manga series or gamers who are serious about their fighting games but doesn't do quite enough to please either parties in the long run. Even it does feature a good amount of strategy and depth, it's not really the hardcore fighter Atarti wants you to believe
 and at the same time a lot of staples that people have come to expect out of DBZ games are compromised, making you sorta question who it was really intended for.

If you're looking for a solid fighter with the Dragon Ball license then I definitely recommend giving this game a shot. It plays well, the customization system can be addicting, and the visual cues taken from the manga is definitely gonna appeal to a certain niche plus it's sold rather cheap nowadays (functional copies coming as little as $5 - $10 w/o shipping on various online stores like Amazon or eBay) but if you're one of the extremes I mentioned earlier then you may wanna look somewhere else.

Overall, I give this game a 7.4 out of 10.

Sunday, August 28, 2016

MDK2 Review - Murder. Death. Kill (?): The Second Carnage

Release(s): March 31, 2000 (Worldwide)
Platform(s): Dreamcast, Windows, PlayStation 2 
Genre(s): Third-person shooter
Developer(s): BioWare
Publisher(s): Interplay Entertainment 
Player(s): 1


MDK is easily one of the most innovative games but not only that it was a huge commercial success and received critical acclaim (for it's technical accomplishments and unique gameplay) so a sequel just had to be made. However as Interplay confronted Nick Bruty, the man behind the very existence of MDK, was not available for the next game so the license was handed over to the then little-known developer BioWare. Does MDK2 live up to the high standards set by the first game?


If you're familiar with how the first game plays then there's no worries while getting into this game as Kurt controls just the same as he did on MDK (there even references to the first game)... in fact, I'd say he controls a bit tighter here than his already great controls in the first game. Infinite chain gun, sniper mode, ribbon chute, etc. are all here for the coarse but there is a few fundamental changes and additions. Grenades now come 5 a piece and take time to detonate unless it makes direct contact with someone which adds a little strategy while using it, the super chain gun can now be equipped manually and have 500 ammo each, and health is more plentiful this time around. Certain items such as I Feel Top!!!, Tornado, and Hamster Hammer sadly hadn't made the cut but MDK2 makes up for it by adding a bunch of new items such as the Cloak which makes you invisible for a while, Black Hole that literally wipes out anything within range (include YOU), Sniper Shield which prevents you from taking damage while in sniper mode (but it obstructs your view), and Laser Chain gun which is even more powerful than the Super Chain gun but require more accurate aiming and only has 100 ammo. There's also these blue glowing orbs that are placed during the puzzle-solving sections that require you to use sniper mode to dissolve them... these orbs are what keep you from progressing and tend to be hidden where enemies are at bay. At first they're pretty easy to dissolve (just aim and shoot with sniper mode) but in later levels they start to show various patterns like floating up and down the area or bouncing back and forth across the area... so positioning and timing is a critical factor here.

Another thing is that you can now play as Max (Dr. Fluke Hawkins' gutter-mouthed six-legged k-9 unit and pet) and Dr. Hawkins (the eccentric man of science who hired Kurt as a janitor), both offer their own style of gameplay. Kurt is like the middle man between the two... his levels are a mix of stealth, puzzle-solving, and manpower while Max's levels are all about manpower, and Doctor's levels are about inventory and puzzle-solving with very little manpower involved. 

In Max's levels, you can find many types of guns to add to your disposal that you can equip or unequip like Magnums, Uzis, Gatling Guns, or Laser guns though Max always comes strapped with a special Magnum with infinite ammo like Kurt's chain gun but it's pretty weak on it's own so it's not a good idea to rely on it. Max can also equip up to 4 guns at once and he's the strongest of the 3 having 200 health points (which is twice the amount Kurt has) so naturally you encounter the most amount of enemies with Max making his levels the most action-packed. Max doesn't come with a parachute like Kurt but you do find a Jetpack halfway through each of his levels that functions a similar way only you don't have to go under an air vent for it to make you fly into the air... the Jetpack has limited fuel however so always remember to go near a gas pump, which you'll find at certain spots throughout the rest of his levels, when the fuel gauge is low. You do find an Atomic Jetpack in later levels which doesn't go as fast but it refills automatically when not in use.

In Doctor's levels, you can find many common objects of which is either sectioned off to your left hand or right hand to be equitable. Having one item on each hand can do various things... such as being combined to make a new item to use or even be used as a weapon. Like I said earlier Doctor's levels are puzzle-solving heavy featuring parts where you play as Doctor's pet fish Chuckleberry Fin swimming your way through a maze in the crate of the Jim Dandy ship to find the button switch while at the same time avoiding spike bombs and bigger fish will eat you once it gets close to you or hit buttons corresponding to a specific pattern (if or not under a time limit). Doctor isn't nearly as physically capable as Kurt or Max (for obvious reasons) as you only have 60 health points, low jumping height, and can't climb onto ledges so platforming and manpower isn't much his territory but you can hold your own against enemies with the Atomic Toaster which can be used with an strangely unlimited loaf of bread (among other things) to make atomic toast that, while not as easily flexible as Kurt's chain gun, can do great damage and can bounce off the area then stick to it before exploding, or his Leaf Blower.

MDK2 still retains the rough difficulty curve of the first game. Enemies still come large in numbers and take quite a bit of manpower to bring down... though MDK2 introduces a completely new, wider roster of enemies such as the Buttrocks who are the most common enemies and are like bigger version of the Grunts (who fans call "Poopsies") but not as big as pushovers (they can attack at close range and launch grenades similar to Kurt's), Coneheads who are seemingly harmless at first but have psychic attacks that go through walls, Birdbrains who are owl-looking robots that fly around and will hunt you down like a hawk (oohh!!), and the dreaded Bifs with their powerful homing lightning staff attacks and high amount of health, plus puzzle-solving is just as tricky as ever and bosses still require varying alternative strategies. In fact, I feel MDK2 may be quite a bit more difficult than the first game... there's a stronger emphasis on platforming and puzzle-solving this time around, and those sections some of the challenging you'd ever face in any game period. In many parts it's seemingly impossible to get past without going through trial-and-error... Doctor's levels are especially hard for this very reason given his levels mostly revolve around puzzle-solving and there's also his limitations.


Like MDK, you have the option to either create a new game data or load an existing save date but for some reason the console versions of MDK2 don't allow you to save at any point of game like in the PC version, the game will save your data for you once you reach a checkpoint but you can at least revisit a checkpoint to redo a certain part of the save data. MDK2 has a total of 10 levels and each level switches between Kurt, Max, and Doctor in that order except for the last level where you choose one of the 3 you want play to as and as always their approaches are completely different even though you're ultimately doing the same thing with all of them... you will get an alternate ending once you beat the level with each of them. Not only are there more levels in MDK2 but the levels themselves are even bigger and more diverse.... you won't be graded by your performance like in the first game though. After playing through each level you can load your save data to watch the cutscenes from all the levels.


Just like MDK the graphics for MDK2 are quite dated with the muddy textures and low-polygon count on character models (especially for the PS2 port MDK2: Armageddon) but the detailed and cool-looking designs make up for it. Another thing worth mentioning is there aren't as many corners cut with the graphics as the first game (most likely due to better resourceful) as there's no parts of the environments that are simply left black and there seems to be some actual lighting effects employed along much better looking (and less computer-looking) explosions and particle effects. The animation is also a lot better notably with Kurt... his movement is actually natural and smooth-looking not at all jerking like in the first game... so with age aside, MDK2 is a very pretty-looking game.


The sound effects in MDK2 are just as cathartic and hilarious as the first game. Voice acting is more plentiful now that characters have actual dialogue and they add just as much to the experience as the alien grunt noises. MDK2 also goes for a totally different musical approach from the first game... in fact, it's done by completely composers who areJesper Kyd, Albert Olson, and Raymond Watts. While there are some orchestral tracks in the game (mostly during Doctor's levels) but for the most part the music in MDK2 is techno and honestly it's more suiting to the game's cyberpunk influence but not only that it does more to get you pumped up during the heat of battle due riffs find in the faster songs.


MDK2 features the same cyberpunk/post-apocalyptic atmosphere with a dash of unique, off-the-wall humor. Like I said earlier MDK2 has actual dialogue this time around so expect a lot of dialogue-based humor and this game features some of the funniest dialogue in any game (who's my puppy-wubby dingy doggy). MDK2 also fleshes-out the story in comparison to the non-existent story from the first game so we actually get to know the titular characters (nobody knows what it stands so stfu!) and the aliens they face while playing the game... the story is told through cutscenes that appear in the beginning, in the middle of, and towards the end of each level but don't expect it to be super compelling as the story never really takes itself very seriously. It's all told in a pretty tongue-in-check matter with witty banter and subversive humor.


With all that said, MDK2 manages to be even better than it's predecessor despite being handled by a completely different development team. Brutal difficulty aside it took what made the first game great then expanded upon it while at the same time fixing most of the (mostly minor) shortcomings... it's just a shame this game never caught on the same way it's older brother did.

Overall, this game gets a 9.5 out of 10.

Saturday, August 13, 2016

MDK Review - This is top!

    April 30, 1997 (Worldwde)
Platform(s): Windows, Mac OS, PlayStation 
Genre(s): Third-person shooter
Developer(s): Shiny Entertainment

    PIE (North America)
    Interplay Entertainment (Europe)
Player(s): 1


Ah, yes... MDK, the abbreviated title of Max Doctor Kurt... or Murder Death Kill... or.. whatever, no one knows but one thing is known is the developers behind the game- the now defunct Shiny Entertainment has a history of making unique and difficult games that are beloved by pretty much everyone who's played them (aside from a few lackluster movie tie-ins), like Earthworm Jim. The revolutionary third-person shooter one of those such games. But does it hold up today? Let's find out...


MDK is a third-person shooter like no other. The movement controls is similar to that of Doom.... the arrow keys/directional buttons allow you to move up/down and turn left/right while pressing the shoulder buttons/left and right arrow keys in junction with X allows you to strafe. One thing that really sets MDK apart from the average third-person shooter is Kurt Hectic, the character that you play as, uses an unlimited ammo chain gun that is attached to his coil suit as his main weapon and this gun can be used even when you're moving Kurt around. You can also find other weapons scattered throughout levels such as the grenade (which come 3 a piece) which deals great damage (a lot more than the chain gun) and breaks glass walls instantly, a super chain gun which evidently is a more powerful version of the built-in chain gun but it equipped automatically and only lasts for 200 rounds (why this is a weakness I'll explain later), and the Dummy Decoy to keep the dim enemies away from attacking you by attacking you for a considerable amount time... along with less common weapons such as The World's Smallest Nuclear Bomb which destroys anything within it's radius but it only appears to be using them to bust through otherwise indestructible doors (kinda a waste if you ask me), a Tornado which bit-by-bit attacks all enemies across the field, and The Very Large Hamester Hammer which springs left and right shaking the ground while destroying anything that the hammer bashes on. The game also combines third-person shooting action with platforming and with that Kurt also has the movement of a shooter along with the mobility of a platformer like Crash Bandicoot, the controls are tight and fluid on top of this. Kurt also comes equipped with a reusable ribbon parachute (usable from holding the jump button while in the air) that either slow down your landing which is convenient when landing from dangerous heights or reach to greater heights while under an air vent. 

And finally, the most stand out feature of all in MDK is Kurt's Sniper Mode. In this mode, your fixed into position with a dead-center aim and you can zoom in or out from your aim. It also comes with an unlimited ammo shooter although not as easily flexible as the chain gun it does more damage and if you aim at a non-boss enemy's vitals it's an instant kill... you can also find different types of sniper bullets such as Homing Bullets and Sniper Grenades (you can even have Max assist you) but those have a limit so it's best to use them only against stronger enemies. Your movement during Sniper Mode is limited so use it with caution... with that said this Sniper Mode adds a nice stealth element to the game.

Now with these vast amount of weaponry and flexibility you would figure the game would be easy... it is not. In fact, the game can be quite brutal in it's difficulty. Enemies come at large numbers and they take quite a bit of brute force to bring down even with the Super Chaingun. The most common you face in the whole game are generically called Grunts, who spend just as much time messing around and cowering as they would attack you but there are others enemies who are stronger, more aggressive, and use more tactics against you. The bosses are evidently the hardest as they require completely different approaches to be defeated and this is where the game really takes advantage of the whole Sniper Mode feature. Fortunately, you can often find food for health scattered throughout each level though they kinda scarce... there's even a I Feel Top supplements which brings your health all the way up to 150 pts (in contrast to your base of 100pts) and can last throughout the whole level but you can't maintain it. Puzzle-solving in this game also prove to be rather tricky... while in other games, the puzzles given to you are fairly straightforward but MDK forces you to think outside the box and solve things completely on your own. 

Once you get past the steep difficulty curve you'll find MDK is a game that in encourages player inituition and creativity as well as knowing when/how to attack or when/how to move.


You either have the option to start a new save data or load up an already saved data... not only had you can save at any point of the game by pressing F2 or holding the select button while the game is paused. There is a total of 6 levels of which you will be graded by your performance after each level and while the levels themselves are vast in size and are fairly diverse, the game only clocks in at 6 hours tops. There is no extra unlockables, no backtracking, and you don't even get much of a conclusion after beating the game. Sure, you would get an amusing Music video by French singer BZK (Billy Ze Kick) doing a cover for the French 1973 anti-war pop song Non Non Rien N'a Changé (No No Nothing Has Changed) but certain rereleases of the game doesn't have it like the Playstation version.... otherwise you just get Kurt climbing on top of the MDK logo like in the Title Menu and the credits roll. 


Although this is a tricky section to review since this game is almost 2 decades old I still think this is a fine-looking game regardless. The level are all very nicely detailed and all very diverse... same goes for the character models. The rich design of the game is also accompanied by a consistently smooth framerate of no lower than 30 fps across all computer system as the game's graphics uses software rendering rather than relying on a special graphics processing unit. The game's graphical accomplishments and visual appeal helps masks it datedness whatnot with the low polygon count (especially the Playstation version) and Kurt's animation is rather choppy (there are actually a few times I messed up a jump due to Kurt's awkward jump animation). One thing I do have to complain about in the game is that in order to maintain it's frame rate performance, many parts of the environments are simply left untextured leaving a bunch of black in certain areas without reason. 


There isn't much voice acting within MDK but when there is, it's usually the enemies making weird and sometimes funny noises. The game also has some really nice sound effects as there's always a sound when you pick up an item that represents said item including some really amusing ones such as the Gunta food making walrus sounds or those weird cow things making moo noises... the gun fires and explosions are also really lethargic. The whole strong point here is with the soundtrack as it's done by a composer who's a fairly big name in the industry, Tommy Tallarcio. All the tracks for MDK are combination of rock, orchestras, and synthesizers which is fitting as the game's story is pretty much about war and it's very sequence-based, keeping silent while running through corridors but comes blazing when something's about to go down. All the tracks work so well it's really hard to point to a specific example of how well it works but regardless, it's good stuff. 


I'll say this once and many who's played the game would agree, MDK is one of the most aesthetically-pleasing games I've ever played. The whole game carries a post-apocalyptic and cyberpunk atmosphere right from the menus to the gameplay while the same time very comical. On top of the silly sound effects, there's several other oddities such as the I Feel Top supplement suddenly sprouting legs trying to run away from you making screeching monkey sounds. The enemies are also odd-looking and grotesque while the same time showing such odd-ball behavior (like the Grunts acting like jackasses and Gunta jigging around) that you can't help but laugh at times. My only complain however is the story almost isn't there... all the story that you're given is aliens invade *insert city, state/province, country here* and it's up to Kurt Hectic to bring down the aliens' minecrawlers. You never even really get to know any of the main characters.... almost all of the story details are within the game's instruction manual as told from Doctor Fluke Hawkins' Journal. 


Despite being nearly 20 years old this game still holds up very strong as being one of the greatest and most significant third-part shooters of all time. Once you get past the short length and the dated visuals (or even immerse them into the experience), MDK is a fun yet challenging and unique game that is worth the time/money for any hardcore gamer. 

I give this game a 8.5 out of 10.